Safety Tips for Avoiding the Most Common Craigslist Scams


In the United States, Craigslist is a classified online advertising source that covers sections of on-sale items, community services, forums for discussion, jobs, homes, concerts, and resumés. Since 2012 Craigslist has now had sites in over 700 cities and regions in 70 countries.

Craigslist is a useful tool, particularly for the purchase and sale of products. The website interface is easy to use and open to many possibilities. But just like any other website, Craigslist has a fraudster list as well.

Here are some safety tips to avoid the most common Craigslist Scams:

Know your buyer and seller on Craigslist:

Before acknowledging a deal on Craigslist, it is important to know who the seller or buyer is. Is the information they provided about themselves authentic? Are they being honest with their identity? You can use Nuwber to verify the identity of the buyer or seller, in case you find them suspicious.

Search for the buyer’s or seller’s name in the search bar and see what information comes up. If you can’t find any details of the buyer or seller, this might be a sign of them being a scam. This way you will be able to keep your money and also your valuable information protected.

Thoroughly check Craigslist and avoid potential crooks:

As we are all aware of modern technology, it is never right to not acknowledge the photoshop or photo editing skills of frauds and cybercrooks.

For example, stock photos are evidently a form of scam, but even more realistic pictures can be counterfeited. Fraudsters often edit pictures of the items they need to sell online which are malfunctioning or not working properly in real life. They then encourage you to buy these broken products on Craigslist, not mentioning the actual state the products are in.

What you can do is: meet them and make the purchase in person. Ask them to check it to make sure it is running smoothly. This way there will also be no issues of quality assurance.

The search for a photo is also a good idea. You click on the image and you select “Search Google for Image”. The picture is probably fake if you find it linking with anything other than the Craigslist advertisement. If you are still unsure, ask the person in question to send an image of the item on the latest date (or have them take a selfie with it). Back off if they refuse to agree that the picture is a stock image.

Identify fraudulent checks:

We may live in a world of online transactions, but older paper checks are still in use, and they are a treat for scammers to steal your money.

Battling a fraudulent check is almost impossible. But we for sure cannot risk our valuable money and even our lives just for a sale-purchase moment.

A fake check scam is when the fraudster never deposits the check itself but sends half of its amount to another person. And since they won’t ask you to deposit it, they can eventually charge you more than you owe.

What you can do is: avoid accepting a check for more than the selling price, it is a scam because the fraudster will manipulate you into paying more than you already should have. Also, never use your money from a check for a stranger who asks for the payment in the form of a gift card. It is for sure a scam.

Many scammers request you to send money to Western Union or MoneyGram through cash transfers or to buy gift cards and send them the PIN numbers. You can almost never get it back.

Do not take checks as a payment method, unless you know the person you are dealing with and genuinely trust them. There is always a safer alternative these days with so many other forms of payment.

Use a Craigslist alternative:

Many websites, including some that you might not think of, have emerged over the years. If you think about how to make money online or just shop from home, use Craigslist alternatives.

The rise of the economy has led us to have Craigslist alternatives like OfferUp to LetGo to numerous other websites that you are able to access without leaving your web browser.

Facebook Marketplace lets you indicate who can view your post: local user, friends on Facebook, or everyone. But if you want to keep the sales and purchases under your surroundings, NextDoor lets you buy and sell, and checks all user addresses, so you know that you’re just selling to people who reside close to you.

Avoid wire transfers:

There is another form of scams on Craigslist: the seller requests you to use a wire transfer. But what they are actually doing is they are trying to steal your money or bank details – without sending any product.

Here’s another thing: PayPal must be used to manage the transaction, which sounds reassuring, but they actually send you a “link” to “PayPal”, a website very much designed to steal your data.

Never click on an external PayPal link. Always use the original website and PayPal URL to go to your official account. Your information is safe in this way.

Another option is PayPal avoidance. Paying in person would be the best choice.

The takeaway:

Craigslist is a well-known website for buying and selling stuff online but it is partially trusted. This is because of its long list of frauds and cyber crooks that are a constant threat to innocent buyers and sellers.

It is important to note that one should never share their valuable information and credentials with someone who they do not know that well, or a stranger you just met online. Avoiding things such as wire transfers and accepting fake gift prize offers can help you to surf safer on Craigslist.


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